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VP Kamala Harris says the return of WNBA player Brittney Griner and other Americans detained abroad ‘is one of our highest priorities’

Vice President Kamala Harris visits Fire Station No. 2 in Santa Monica, Calif., on Saturday, July 4, 2022.

Damian Dovarganes/AP

  • VP Kamala Harris says the return of Brittney Griner and other detained Americans is a high priority.
  • “We’re gonna do everything we can to bring her home as soon as possible,” Harris told CBS News.
  • The WNBA star pleaded guilty to drug smuggling charges in Russia last week. 

Vice President Kamala Harris on Sunday told CBS News that the return of WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner and other Americans detained overseas “is on our highest priority list.”

“President and I and Jake Sullivan and others have been in touch with Cherelle Griner, Brittany Griner’s wife, to do what we can to lend support,” Harris said on “Face the Nation.”

“I can’t talk to you about the details, what’s happening behind the scenes, but I can tell you that it is one of our highest priorities to bring these Americans home.”

Last week, President Joe Biden and Harris contacted Griner’s wife, Cherelle, on Wednesday to ensure her of their efforts to bring the seven-time WNBA All-Star back to the US. 

“The President called Cherelle to reassure her that he is working to secure Brittney’s release as soon as possible, as well as the release of Paul Whelan and other U.S. nationals who are wrongfully detained or held hostage in Russia and around the world,” The White House said in a statement last week. 

Brittney Griner.Brittney Griner.

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Just days before, Griner wrote an Independence Day letter to Biden expressing how “terrified” she is while in Russian jail, where she has been since mid-February after customs officials there claimed they found vape cartridges with hashish oil in her luggage at an airport. 

Additionally, Griner plead guilty to drug smuggling charges during a court appearance on Thursday, a move a legal expert called “simply a faster path to the finish line,” Insider’s Cork Gaines and Meredith Cash reported. 

During the interview, “Face the Nation” host Robert Costa asked Harris how “confident” she feels about Griner coming home. 

“We’re gonna do everything we can to bring her home as soon as possible,” Harris responded. “That is for sure.”

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